by J Scott Christianson, Columbia Daily Tribune Columnist

After weeks of pressuring and convincing from local political observer Lee Jones, I have decided to follow the lead of former Tribune columnist Chris Kelly and enter the political arena as a candidate. But not having much campaign experience, I figure that I should try to seek a lower, rather than higher, office.

If elected as Boone County dogcatcher, I promise to work tirelessly for the small, working dogs of Boone County. In a Christianson administration, there will be kibble in every bowl, a pillow in every kennel and plenty of treats. But before I gather my supporters around the old bur oak in McBaine to launch my campaign, I have some important work to do.

First, I will have to decide whether to hire a campaign consultant. After all, an election is like the ultimate dog show – you need to be properly groomed and trained if you want to compete. A good campaign consultant will be able to tell me when I should sit, lie down and roll over, or when to attack, bark and growl! And all they’ll ask in return is gobs of money. A skilled consultant can make almost any trainable candidate competitive, and I’m willing to heel.

Next I’ll need to see whether I can line up endorsements from some heavy hitters in Missouri politics. Perhaps I can track down some of the descendants of Jim the Wonder Dog, that famous canine from Marshall who picked the winner of the 1936 World Series and the winner of the Kentucky Derby for seven consecutive years. If not, I should at least make a campaign stop at his grave in Sedalia for a photo op.

As far as the opposition goes, my opponent in this race is all bark and no bite. His policies benefit only the purest of the pure breeds, leaving the mutt and mongrel behind. Clearly his tail is being wagged by the Big Breeders. His only solution for dealing with bad dogs is a rolled-up Tribune. Although we certainly have to punish bad dogs, we also need to punish the sources of bad behavior: namely, cats.

My plan for Boone County will reward work, not just pedigree. This country was founded on hardworking dogs. From George Washington’s faithful hound dog Captain and FDR’s terrier Fala, to LBJ’s mutt Yuki and Bob Dole’s schnauzer Leader, they all worked for their masters and their country.

There will be lots of hot-button issues in this race. As author Joe Weinstein has pointed out, many voters are nervous about the economy – seeing as how Alpo is up almost 99 cents a can. That’s nearly $7 in dog money!

Boone County’s farm dogs are no doubt also worried about the pending reauthorization of the Farm Bill by Congress. My gosh, I’m going to have to bone up on a lot of topics.

I’m sure this campaign will not be cheap. Given the rate of inflation in campaign costs, probably tens of thousands of dollars will be spent on this race, with lots of this money coming in from various dog PACs.

So I had better start working the phones and bringing in the cash. In the meantime, I ask all my readers to send whatever you can to my campaign. Whether your wallet is as big as a Great Dane or as small as a Chihuahua, every little bit helps. Please send whatever you can to: Central Missouri Humane Society, 616 Big Bear Blvd., Columbia, Mo., 65202; and may the best dog win.